Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen make MerleFest debut
For decades, Washington D.C. and its neighboring cities of Alexandria, Virginia and Bethesda, Md., have been hotbeds of the folk music scene.
While not getting as much attention as the acoustic music scene of New York’s Greenwich Village scene or, say, Boston, the Washington area has consistently supported bluegrass, old-time, traditional country and folk bands.
Many of the musicians and music lovers of the D.C. scene are transplants who brought their own regional styles with them when they came to the area for government jobs.
Today, one of the premier acoustic bands from the Alexandria, Va., area is Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. It features Solivan on mandolin, fiddle, guitar and vocals, Mike Munford on banjo and vocals, Chris Luquette on guitar and vocals and Dan Booth on upright acoustic bass.
Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen will perform on several stages on Saturday, April 26, as part of this year’s MerleFest celebration in Wilkesboro.
“I come from a big family of musicians,” Solivan said. “And we were constantly having these big gatherings where we would have great big meals and then lots of fun jamming and playing music. My mom was in the restaurant business, and she taught me how to cook and run a restaurant kitchen. So, food and music have always been the two unifying forces in my life. We play a tune, called ‘Dirty Kitchen,’ and that became the band’s name.
“Making music or cooking food for family and friends, those are two things where you wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s an honest way of entertaining and communicating.”
One of the unusual aspects of Dirty Kitchen is the wide range of ages in the band. Luquette is 23 years old, while Munford was playing banjo in the 1960s and is now in his 60s. Despite the age difference, the two pickers are perfectly in sync when it comes delivering blistering fast lead lines and trading licks.
Solivan, the principal songwriter of the group, has one of those soulful deep voices that would be right at home in country, rhythm and blues or classic rock.
Solivan’s original compositions range from powerful ballads to upbeat rockers, all perfect vehicles for his band-mates to fill with red hot solos.
A fan favorite of the Dirty Kitchen setlist is an intense cover version of the old Box Tops hit, “The Letter.” According to Solivan, the band is currently working on a cover of The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” to be performed at the Midnight Jam with Scythian and other musicians at MerleFest.
Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen will make their MerleFest debut next Saturday, April 26, in Wilkesboro.
The band will perform on the Hillside Stage from 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and on the Cabin Stage from 8 to 8:27 p.m. They will also perform as part of the MerleFest Midnight Jam, beginning at midnight at the Walker Center, hosted by Scythian and featuring Keller Williams and others.
Additionally, Dirty Kitchen banjo player Munford will perform as part of the show, “BanjoRama Part II,” from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. at the Creekside Stage, along with Pete Wernick, Scott Vestal, Mark Johnson, Scott Anderson, Jens Kruger, Blake Williams and Dr. Ralph Stanley.
For more on Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, visit http://www.dirtykitchenband.com.